Monday, 24 February 2014

Tales of The Tower of London

"The Crown Jewels are over there, the toilets are to your left," our guide points, "and with that, we have covered everything, from the crowns to your thrones." 
He grins. So punny.

We had reached the Tower of London just in time for one of their free tours, and gotten to follow a humorous guide around the place while he told us cool bits of information, sprinkling them with loads of puns, British-humour style.

The main reason we'd come is because Mum said that we absolutely had to see the beautiful Crown Jewels. But aside from that, one also gets to see the graves of the likes of Anne Boelyn and Lady Jane Grey, and view the various torture instruments. This once was a prison for important/royal prisoners, and was also the site of the mystery of the princes in the tower.

When Edward IV died in April 1483, he was to be succeeded by his 12 year old son, Edward V. Edward IV's brother Richard became protector of the realm. The Tower of London was the traditional residence of monarchs prior to their coronation, so Edward V and his younger brother were taken there while preparations were being made. However, the two young princes mysteriously disappeared, and Richard III (Edward IV's brother) was crowned king in July 1483 instead. Only circumstantial evidence surrounds the disappearance of the princes, so while most speculate that they were murdered, it cannot be proven when or by whom the deed was done. (Most believe that Richard III was the mastermind behind their disappearances, and Shakespeare depicted this in his play Richard III.)

Richard III was later defeated by Henry VII in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry VII took the throne, and was succeeded by his infamous son Henry VIII.

Historical mysteries aside, the Crown Jewels were magnificent.
Mum was so thrilled by this fact that she must have repeated it to at least 10 people when we returned home so I can quote her on this now:
The uncut Cullinan diamond was 3106 carats, and was presented to Edward VII in 1906.
Emphasis on the 3106 carats, obviously.

There's also another huge diamond currently set in the crown of Queen Elizabeth (wife of King George VI and mother of Queen Elizabeth II) called the Koh-i-Noor.

I'll leave you with some interesting trivia: 
Do you know who the original Humpty Dumpty was? (I'm just recounting what the tour guide said). 
Richard III was a hunchback. 
Apparently he was a pretty proud guy. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. 
Then he died in battle after he fell off his horse. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. 
And kind of got hacked apart. And all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again.
His body was only recently found. Buried under a carpark lot labelled R for reserved. With a sign nearby that said "Caution: Hump in Road". Or so they say. Make of that what you will.

Getting there:
Nearest tube: Tower Hill (5min)
Detailed directions here.

Photos taken with Sony RX100 ii

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